Name: Harry Yu Wai-pong Age: 29 Occupation: Civil engineer
Young Post: How did you become a civil engineer?
Yu: I completed my degree in civil and structural engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in 1999. I began working as a graduate engineer at Maunsell Geotechnical Services.
YP: What does your company do?
Y: The government and other public bodies, such as the KCRC, commission us to carry out site inspection before they begin large-scale construction work.
For example, before excavation work is carried out on a mountainous area earmarked for development, we inspect the site.
We carry out geotechnical analyses and take underground soil samples to see whether extra slope stabilisation is needed before construction begins.
We also specialise in slope maintenance. In Hong Kong, there are more than 50,000 slopes that need regular checks and maintenance.
YP: How do you maintain Hong Kong's slopes?
Y: We check whether there are any cracks on the retaining walls. Then we clear blockages in the drainage channels.
If a slope is found to be unstable, reinforcement work, such as boring soil nails into the slope and strengthening the retaining walls, will be carried out.
YP: What are you currently working on?
Y: A KCRC project. The railway company is planning to build a line from Nam Cheong to Tsim Sha Tsui East. Before rail tracks can be laid, we have to conduct a lot of tests.
After assessing the soil properties and considering other geotechnical factors, we decided that dredging works would stop at 15 metres below the ground.
We have to drain all the underground water and make sure the dredging and excavation works won't cause geological changes to the neighbouring areas.
YP: Do you enjoy your job?
Y: Absolutely. I love doing fieldwork.
The construction site is a hive of activity, with construction workers, heavy machinery and building tools.
The noise from the bulldozers, the sound of the wrecking balls and the scorching heat all add to
the sense of excitement and challenge.
YP: What is the most satisfactory aspect of your job?
Y: I'm proud that I'm involved in some of the biggest infrastructure projects in Hong Kong.
While engineers may not enjoy the same status as doctors or lawyers, the spectacular buildings and infrastructure in Hong Kong are monuments to civil engineers' contribution to society.
I'm also happy that I can help beautify the landscape and enhance living standards.
In the 1970s, whenever there were heavy downpours, flooding and mudslides would follow. This caused heavy casualties and huge property loss.
After three decades of strenuous slope stabilisation work, Hong Kong's slopes are much more stable.